Offered by Genoa auction house Wannenes (30/25% buyer’s premium) on March 3 with an estimate of just €600-800, it took €280,000 (£254,000) plus premium.
While this work measuring 8 x 5in (20 x 13cm) carries his name, Storer – a painter and copper plate etcher rather than a sculptor – may be its designer rather than its craftsman. Perhaps a more likely candidate for a tour de force of the carver’s art is Christoph Daniel Schenck (1633-91). Both subject matter and execution are typical of his oeuvre.
The two artists worked closely together in the Lake Constance region.
Among the very earliest records for Schenck’s career as a carver in ivory and boxwood is a letter dated August 17, 1664 written by Storer to his patron, the prior of St Blaise Abbey in the Black Forest.
In it Storer personally recommends Schenck, who had taken over the direction of his father’s workshop in Constance around 1660, as: den besten bildhawer der weit und brait in dem Römischen Reich mögen gefünden werden (the best sculptor in the Holy Roman Empire).
On the counter
Small-scale sculpture such as this, made by Schenck for the interiors of churches and monasteries at the height of the Counter Reformation, formed an increasing proportion of his work from around 1675 onwards.
Today it is considered to constitute his main artistic achievement with similar panels in a number of major museums – including those in Frankfurt’s Liebieghaus sculpture museum.